25 known facts about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

2014-03-10 08:06
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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: a timeline in pics

A series of photographs following the development of news regarding the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing over the weekend.

Cape Town - Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been missing for more than 48hrs with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board - and authorities are investigating exactly what happened to the plane.  
The flight departed Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at 00:41 (16:21 GM) on Friday, 8 March 2014 for a scheduled six-hour flight to Beijing, China.

Subang Air Traffic Control Centre lost contact with the plane at about 01:22 (17:43 GMT), while over the Gulf of Thailand, and it was reported missing at 02:40. A joint search-and-rescue effort is being conducted by American, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese authorities, mainly over the South China Sea.

While Vietnam authorities have indicated they've found jetliner fragments80km South-Southwest of Tho Chu Island, this still needs to be verified. The United States' FBI is currently looking into the possibility that terrorism led to the disappearance of the aircraft, with focus on at least two passengers who were using false identities.

Malaysian Air Force chief Rodzali Daud claimed that recordings of radar signals showed the possibility that the aircraft turned back on its flight path.

According to aviation expert Vincent Lessing, accredited in Civil Aviation Management and Disaster Planning and Relief, there are a number of mystery question surrounding flight MH370.

"The plane went down without any emergency declaration to its ATC or by means of avionics. Key elements such as mechanical failure and/or terrorism is high on the assumption list. However, no claim has been made by any terrorist cell via internet or broadcast. Recent reports indicate hard ocean impact, but no emergency beacon transmitted.

"The aircraft was also tracked by military radar and also indicates a portion of flight with intent to turn around, however with no emergency communication. This is very unusual and predicts a threat action might have been performed.

"Though officials do not know what happened to Flight MH370, whatever it may have been must have been catastrophic, as planes don't fall out of the sky at 36 000 feet."

Also check out: Passenger who missed ill-fated flight tweets gratitude

Last known location of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 (Vincent Lessing)

Here Lessing outlines 25 known facts about the Missing Malaysian plane

1. The Boeing 777-2H6ER, registration 9M-MRO MSN 28420, first flew on 14 May 2002, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 31 May 2002.

2. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines.

3. It had accumulated 20 243 hours and 3,023 cycles in service.

4. The aircraft was involved in a prior accident at Shanghai Pudong airport in August 2012, where its wingtip collided with another aircraft and broke off.

5. The plane B777-300 ER Registration # 9M-MRO was last inspected 10 days ago and was “in proper condition,” Ignatius Ong, CEO of Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly airlines, said at a news conference.

6. However, there is a news report that just a day before the crash the aircraft had been on A-Check on KLIA hangar.

7. B777-200ER Registration # 9M-MRO of Malaysian airlines flew as flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March 2014.

8. Aircraft took off at 00:41 (16:21 GM) from Kuala Lumpur and was due to land at Beijing at 06:30 (22:50 GMT)

9. It had 239 people on board including all passengers and flight crew.

10. The 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18 000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2 800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

11. B777 flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing in South China Sea

12. Last known location was off the country's Ca Mau peninsula 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E (approximately 130 km/80 mi NNE of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia). 120 nautical miles (220 km) east of Kota Bharu at the South China Sea.

13. The plane had been flying at an altitude of 35 000ft (10,700m)

14. The pilots had not reported any problems with the aircraft, no mayday or warning signals sent.

15. Aircraft lost contact at about 01:22.

16. The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control (Ho Chi Minh Area Control Center),” Lt Gen Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

17. No ELT signal to locate the wreckage.

18. No Mayday signal sent.

19. Aircraft’s black box is equipped with “pinger” that emits ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater. Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away If the box is trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far. If the box is at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

20. Search and rescue operation started.

21. The oil slicks sighted off the southern tip of Vietnam by Vietnamese Navy were each between 10 kilometers and 15 kilometers long.

22. The oil was spotted, the air search was suspended for the night and was to resume Sunday morning.

23. No floating debris except oil slick found at the suspected area of crash.

24. Two passengers were on board with stolen passports. The passports belonged to an Austrian National and an Italian national. Both the passports were stolen in Thailand. One was stolen 18 months ago and another one 2 years ago.

25. Questions are being raised for possible act of terrorism in this regard. But there is also a possibility that the passports have been used multiple times after theft by drug smugglers on the same route.

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